Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Oppo OPDV971H Review Roundup

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Oppo OPDV971H is an upscaling DVD player with DVI output that is priced fairly well at $199.00. Oppo can playback virtually any type of audio and video format: DVD Video/Audio, Divx(VOD,3,4,5) / MPEG4, VCD, SVCD, CD, HDCD, WMA, DVDR/RW, CD-R/RW, Kodak Picture. Scaling to 1080i/720p and deinterlacing is done with the help of Genesis/Faroudja DCDi chips. Moreover, it supports NTSC as wells as PAL disks and can output the video in those formats besides DVI. Basically this is the John of all trades of DVD players. Read the full specs at the manufacturer web site by clicking here and come back to read the review collection below:
Highs:
Exceptional video quality; compatible with a ton of codec’s and recordable media formats
Lows:
Cheap looking remote and DVD tray; buttons on the remote are not backlit
The Oppo OPDV971H is a very impressive player at its price. Its video and audio quality are equal to or better than anything in its price range and its video surpasses many more expensive players as well. It has also been proven to be a very reliable player, as there are a very low percentage of returns for defect. The customer service provided by Oppo is a revelation at this price point and hopefully we can look forward to more great products from this company. For it's terrific video performance (which is the main reason to buy this player), I'd give it an overall rating of 4-1/2 paws.
If you are in the market for a budget DVD player, with DVI output, and which has exceptional video performance, the 971H definitely meets those criteria. This player passes below-black, has no pixel cropping, and there are no signs of Y/C delay. I personally can’t wait to see what Oppo has in store for us next.
So what makes the Oppo OPDV971H DVD player so hot? While its form factor is sleek with a low profile and uncluttered look, its digital performance is without equal at apparently any price based on the 2005 DVD Player Benchmark shootout by Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity that ended last month. The Oppo OPDV971H digital output (DVI) beat 39 other DVD players from 11 other companies including Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, LG, Onkyo, Teac, Oritron, Harmon Kardon, and McCormack. The price range of these products was $199 to $13,000. Guess who sells for $199 . . . Oppo.
When all is said and done, the Oppo OPDV971H is a tremendous value at its budget $199 asking price for owners of DVI-compatible HDTV displays. It still has some minor quality issues to be worked out, and it may not truly rank with the top-end players on the market (it has been somewhat unrealistically compared to the $3,500 Denon DVD-5910), but the generally excellent picture it produces is a decided step up from other players in its price range. With its DVI output, upscaling capabilities, and region-free playback, it's a real winner. Considering Oppo Digital's dedicated customer support, I expect further refinements to this player as they continue to work out the bugs, and hope to see other exciting products from this company in the future.
The high Secrets score and growing praise online for the OPPO may make it an appealing choice for folks shopping for a new DVD player, but there are some definite caveats to keep in mind. First, if your HDTV lacks a DVI or HDMI input, the 971 is not going to provide you with much benefit: the component video outputs are limited to 480i, just like the largely-defunct interlaced players of old. If you have a standard definition TV and have no plans to upgrade the display for a while, it may be possible to find a player that will offer nearly the same s-video or composite video performance on your existing display for less money. The target audience for this player is the owner of a DVI or HDMI-equipped HDTV or someone planning to upgrade to such a display in the near future. For that audience, the OPDV971H is an excellent value.
This player has been hyped almost to the point of being the holy grail of DVD players. In all honesty, for the $199 MSRP it really is a great player. The differences come down to black level, build quality, audio capability, bass management, and the responsiveness and usability. For the price you really can’t pass up the video quality of this player – especially if you’re looking for a source component to match with a digital display.

Highs
• Excellent DVI video
• First-rate deinterlacing from Faroudja DCDi processor
• Flexible video controls

Lows
• Unexceptional audio quality
• No progressive component output
• Poor remote

Posted by Mike at 4:40 PM
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